Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Product Review; "The Burlesque Handbook"

Jo Weldon is founder and Head-Mistress of New York City's School of Burlesque providing all levels of instruction on the lost art of the strip-tease. From insightful tips on developing inspiration for an act to the details on costuming and showmanship, Jo is indeed an authority on creating the performance of your life.

Just about every percievable option to create a memorable spectacle are detailed in "The Burlesque Handbook" including rarely known factoids on the origin of the art and references to leading innovators in the industry like Dita Von Teese.

Amidst the pages of valuable information is a chapter dedicated to one of the most obvious intrigues to catch my attention; makeup.

Burlesque makeup borders somewhere between the theatricality of ballet and the cartoonish quality of drag. The most common elements include cosmetic glitter and false eyelashes. But Jo not only recommends these items, she gives tips and tricks to applying them as well as bits of history behind their inception and how, when used properly, not only serve as visual stimulation, but can transport the viewer to another state of emotion. What starts as a basic lesson in applying makeup can become the jumping off point for creating art.

Among her favorite items to use are the full coverage yet comfortable body makeup "Dermablend Leg and Body Cover" and "Ben Nye Iced Gold Sparkle Lumiere Luxe Powder" to create a flawless finish once the costume has come off. Face makeup is not the only necessity when baring all. No detail goes un-examined according to the lovingly monikered Jo "Boobs" Weldon, since even after you've removed your clothes "you're never nude up there".

"Although I was fully naked, I never felt overexposed at all; I felt clothed in my illusion of nude beach-blanket perfection."

Another useful tip comes from my own personal inspiration, the late Kevyn Aucoin who loved to utilize eyebrow plastic to create a brand new shape to the face. Among other influential innovators include snippets on the creation of glitter by Henry Ruschmann.

I could go on and on about all the awesome intrigues available within "The Burlesque Handbook". But at the risk of divulging any further secrets, I'll take a cue from some burlesque techniques and leave a bit to the imagination.

Unless you pick up a copy for yourself, that is.

"The Burlesque Handbook"; $16.99

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